Update (6 July 2016, 8:00 a.m.)
Kevin Bonham pointed me to this AEC table that indicates the flow of preferences for Nationals voters in three-cornered contests in 2013. It was 75.45% to the Liberals and 24.55% to the ALP. So the Liberals should not be surprised with the preference flow of 3/4 from Nationals to Mirabella in Indi.
The flow of preferences from Liberals voters to Nationals was 90.79% in 2013 – higher than the flow the other way, but even if the flow of Nationals preferences to Mirabella had been that high, McGowan would still be leading in Indi.
Liberal federal electorate chairman for Indi, Tony Schneider, reportedly said that many Nationals voters preferenced Cathy McGowan ahead of Sophie Mirabella in 2016. He said “The reason we have a Coalition is to put a Coalition member in Parliament, whether that’s Sophie or Marty, but now we don’t have either. A lot of National Party people need to have a good look at that.”
Well, we have a preferential voting system so voters can preference whomever they like. But that aside, we can look at the booth data to estimate the proportion of Nationals voters who preferenced McGowan, an independent, ahead of Mirabella, the Liberal candidate.
Using the method I described last week, I estimate the following flow of preferences to Mirabella from each of the other candidates:
0% of 1498 votes from LAPPIN, Alan James ( Independent )
0% of 2724 votes from O’CONNOR, Jenny ( The Greens )
64.5% of 697 votes from QUILTY, Tim ( Liberal Democrats )
28.1% of 7404 votes from KERR, Eric ( Australian Labor Party )
41.2% of 376 votes from DYER, Ray ( Independent )
73.6% of 13822 votes from CORBOY, Marty ( The Nationals )
0 % of 1538 votes from FIDGE, Julian ( Australian Country Party )
92.1% of 937 votes from FERRANDO, Vincent ( Rise Up Australia Party )
This model provides a good fit to the data:
Based on that analysis, I estimate that three quarters of Nationals voters preferenced Mirabella ahead of McGowan – and a total of approximately 3650 National voters preferred McGowan. Counting is still continuing, but McGowan leads with 41,548 votes to 34,489. If all the Nationals voters had preferenced Mirabella, we would now have another neck-and-neck race rather than a safe win to McGowan.
I’m sure the Liberals will be disappointed they couldn’t inspire the Nationals voters to preference their candidate. But I’m not sure that castigating them will help win them over for the next election, however.